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This paper presents the first stage of a comparative assessment of the business laws, which affect small, micro and medium sized enterprises (SMMEs) in eight SADC member states (Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The study is being undertaken on behalf of the Small Enterprise Promotion Advisory Council (SEPAC) Working Group on Policy Issues.

The main justification for this project is that business laws have an important role to play in the development of a facilitative environment for SMME promotion. A related objective is to promote discussion of the most appropriate regulatory environment for SMME development in the various SADC member states.

The creation of a more unified regulatory environment is also an essential precursor to regional economic integration. At present, a major obstacle to the development of a more unified regulatory environment within SADC is the lack of information about the business laws of the various countries in the region. In most countries there is little or no published material available on national laws and regulations affecting business.

Against this background, the intention of this paper is to provide an overview of those areas of business law which have the greatest relevance to the activities of SMMEs in each of the countries surveyed. By so doing, our aim is to discover which are the most contentious issues that can usefully be the subject of a more detailed study that will examine not only the relevant laws, but also the policy issues and options that lie behind such laws.

In order to complete this study, country consultants were invited to compile reports on the relevant business laws of their country. The services of these consultants were obtained with the assistance of

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member organisations of SEPAC, and of the relevant country offices of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

The consultants who contributed the country reports were as follows:

  • Botswana - Andrew Briscoe
  • Malawi - Alan Chinula
  • Namibia - Peik Bruhns
  • South Africa - EFK Tucker Incorporated
  • Swaziland - Dumisani Mazibuko
  • Tanzania - Bernard Msekwa
  • Zambia - Mumba Malila
  • Zimbabwe - Newton Madzika, Ecofin (Pvt) Ltd

In presenting a summary of these reports, the author has tried so far as possible to avoid the use of technical legal terms. However, the use of some terms has been unavoidable, and a glossary of these terms is included at the end of the report (see Appendix).

© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | November 2000

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